GEMS: Hidden in Plain Sight (75@75).

See How They Emerged 

To mark the 75th Anniversary of the NHS, the Seacole Group partnered with Colourful Healthcare to launch: GEMS: Hidden in Plain Sight (75@75). This is the new leaders list recognising 75 health and social care professionals from Black, Asian and other minoritised backgrounds who are making a difference in the sector but are often hidden in plain sight. 

Nominated by peers, the 75 GEMS will have demonstrated that they are making a difference to their organisation, patient care/community and/or the diversity and inclusion agenda. The Seacole Group is delighted to share that a number of our members are on the list.

Join us as we congratulate them on their richly deserved recognition.

Congratulations!

Click on the plus icon for details about the winner 

Junior Hemans –

Biography

Joint NED at RWT and WHT Chair of People Committee at both, initiated the Trusts formal assessment and undertaking of the Race Code. Both achieved the Charter, developing a range of EDI initiatives and creating and sustaining change. Secured funding to train 60 barbers, hairdressers and nail technicians in Mental Health First Aid awareness in Wolverhampton. 39 were trained.

LaToya Martin

Biography

The BAME SLP project Key achievements:
• 100% of nurses have reviewed their career aspirations and practised self-presentation.
• 75% of nurses have an improved understanding of the application process and what creates successful interview outcomes.
• 37% of staff have successfully been in senior roles since the start of the programme.
• 50% of participants applied for jobs and were all shortlisted, with more participants having pending interviews.

Blerta Ilazi

Biography

Blerta came to Sheffield as a refugee and has dedicated her nursing career to helping South Yorkshire’s most vulnerable communities through her clinical work as a nurse practitioner, in her teaching health inequalities at Sheffield University and the NHS, and more recently, establishing the ReSTORE programme for refugee nurses.

Mary Akangbe

Biography

Mary is a nurse, innovator and global healthcare leader who has championed patient safety, inclusion and innovation for many years. She brings joy, courage and determination to her roles, As the President and Founder of Zenith Global Health, she highlights the achievements of international healthcare workers in order to inspire others that we can also make a difference. She is true GEM.

Asha Day

Biography

Asha is an award-winning Nurse. She played a pivotal role co-designing and delivering the nationally recognised BAME Developing Aspirant Leaders Programme – Graduates have influenced service development for BAME patients and over 70% have moved up pay bands. A respected member of Midlands WRES Group, She leads a system-wide talent acceleration program, this a vision of for diverse executive leadership within 3-5 years. Asha’s unwavering dedication continues to make a tangible difference to staff experiences, knowledge, and patient safety. These impactful contributions are carried out mostly in her personal time, reflecting her passion for equity.”

Micheal Joel Apas

Biography

Michael, a Clinical Practice Educator is dedicated to improving the experiences of Internationally-Educated Nurses (IENs). He introduces innovative methodologies to assist IENs in their OSCEs, while advocating for inclusivity and diversity. In collaboration with PNA-UK (Philippine Nurses Association-UK), he supports Filipino Nurses in Cornwall, promoting their well-being and celebrating their diverse cultures”.

Dharmesh Patel

Biography

Dharmesh Patel as Chief Executive of Primary Eyecare Services has used his experience and leadership to bring together an experienced and diverse team to support and deliver an overarching strategy that Primary Eyecare Services has of working with key stakeholders to deliver the transformation of eye care.

Alice Enticknap

Biography

Alice is a Community Occupational Therapy team lead, who has been instrumental in supporting our internationally educated AHPs across the whole trust whilst also supporting and developing her own team to manage a challenging and busy caseload. She is always calm and approachable, an inspiration to all she works with.

Ben Browne

Biography

Chief People Officer for the North London Mental Health Partnership.

 Production of the Partnership’s People and OD Strategy.
 Production of the Partnership’s Values.
 Production of the Partnership’s Leadership Framework.
 Introduction of ethnicity, sexual orientation and disability pay gap monitoring.
 Production of State of Health Inequalities report and action plan.
 Delivery of inaugural Partnership Staff Outstanding Service Contribution And Recognition Scheme (O.S.C.A.R.S) Awards.
 Enhanced profile of EDI via a range of events.

Fungai V Nembaware

Biography

Fungai V Nembaware is the Clinical Lead Nurse for Haringey Camhs and is very passionate about patient safety as well as mentoring and supporting other nurses and health care professionals to be clinically safe and effective consistently.
She is also the Vice Chairperson of the Better Together Network in Haringey where she is instrumental in Ensuring that there is equality, diversity and inclusion for all staff in line with the Trust Strategy. Fungai started the Haringey Nurses forum for Camhs to create a safe space for nurses to discuss nursing issues, share evidence based literature and continue to grow In the professional roles.
Fungai is caring and constantly thinking of how to improve lives of staff especially around sensitive topics. She has been working to support menopause awareness and successfully co-hosted the menopause workshop during Black History Month. Fungai was featured in the Trust’s Black History month as one of the influential black female leaders in the Trust.

Mahmud Nawaz

Biography

Mahmud holds a number of roles across the public, private and third sector. He is a Non Executive Director at Mid Yorkshire Teaching NHS Trust, an active organ donation campaigner following the death of his wife in 2004 who went on to save four lives, Chair of Relate Bradford and Leeds and works for Lloyds Banking Group.
Whether it be talking therapies or organ donation or wider inequalities, Mahmud uses his combination of roles to support initiatives that bring more equity to access, experience and outcomes, as well as championing the VCSE and education sectors as key partners working alongside the NHS.

Mehrunnisa Lalani

Biography

Mehrunnisa has held a number of non-executive positions in the health and voluntary sector in the East Midlands Nationally she has been a member of the Doctors and Dentists Pay Review Body. Mehrunnisa is currently a. She is a lay Adjudicator/ Fitness to Practice Panel member for the British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) and a Non-Executive Director for University Hospitals of Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust where she chairs the People and Culture Committee.

Mehrunnisa has a Postgraduate Diploma in Health Studies, a JNC Qualification in Youth and Community Work and an MA in Health and Community Studies.

Mehrunnisa brings with her over 20 years’ experience of working with diverse sectors including local government and HM Prison Service. She completed her employed career within the Solicitors Regulation Authority where she was Director of Inclusion. She now works as a freelance consultant She is currently the EDI strategic lead for Coventry University Group and the EDI strategy consultant for Birmingham City Council.

Cynthia Conquest

Biography

I am an experienced ex NHS Director of Finance with a wide portfolio of NHS experience covering 44 years.

I have worked in all aspects of financial services and in all types of healthcare settings; large acute teaching hospitals, specialist hospitals, mental health and community services. I have a high level of experience in all financial and healthcare processes with a specialty in financial management and transformation.

My diverse experience includes the education sector either through charity work or paid employment as an interim or consultant and the hospice sector through my voluntary work and being part of the various Committees at the Hospice. I have also had experience in being the Chair of the Audit Committee for a GP Confederation in London for several years.

I am currently the Chair of the Audit Committee and the Senior Independent Director for Royal Papworth Hospital in Cambridge. I have recently taken up a role as Governor for a school in Colchester which provides Alternative Provision for children aged 5 – 16, most of whom have found it difficult to be successful in a mainstream school.

Dr Anil Jain

Biography

Dr Anil Jain is a Consultant Radiologist in Manchester . He is a Nye Bevan programme in Executive Healthcare Leadership & a Senior BAME Influencer at the NHS Leadership Academy (NHSLA) and @APNA NHS, helping develop inclusive leadership in the NHS. Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, he highlighted the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on the BAME Health Care Professionals and the communities. He is a strong advocate of #GlobalVaccineEquity to protect all.
He is the BMA Council Equality Champion and a member of the BMA EDI Advisory Group and a member of BMA Audit & Risk Committee. He has helped setting up of the National BAME Members Forum & Regional BAME networks & enhancing support for the International Medical Graduates (IMG) via the BMA IMG Steering Group & as Co-Chair of the BMA IMG Champions Group. He is the Founding Chair of the Asian Cancer Support Group and Patient to Patient Support Initiative (PaPSI) and he is deeply committed to addressing health inequalities particularly in breast cancer care: please follow @BME_CANCER . He is working hard on addressing inequalities faced by BAME communities. He leads an innovative Cross-Cultural Communication Skills Training Programme based on ‘Cultural Humility’ model.
He is Founding member of the Disabled Doctors Network & member Disability Pioneers Supergroup/ Workforce Disability Equality Standard (WDES) Strategic Advisory Group at NHS England, focused on improving support for disabled doctors/medical students & other NHS staff. I believe in zero tolerance for bullying & harassment and sexism in medicine.He has been awarded BMA Fellowship (2013), HSJ Top 50 BME Pioneer award (2014), Health & Social Care Network Embrace Award (2015), Honorary Membership Medical Women Federation award (2021), Asian Fire Services Association Award (2021), Asian Professionals National Alliance (APNA NHS) Hero Award 2023 for Outstanding Clinical Contribution (2023).

Oluwaseun Ogunbuyide

Biography

Oluwaseun Ogunbuyide is Programme Manager in the NHSE/ DHSC Digitising Social Care Programme, leading on delivery of digital skills policy. She is an experienced commissioning manager having previously led digital programmes as a Service Manager in Derby County Council. Olu has an MBA from the University of Northampton

Asma Nafees

Biography

Asma Nafees, a qualified solicitor, is an unsung hero with remarkable achievements. As a hijabi Muslim woman, she serves as an NHS NED, breaking barriers. Her leadership roles include Deputy Director and Chief Analytics Officer, where she diversified the candidate pool and addressed workforce challenges. As a Trustee, she advocates for inclusivity in a charity supporting adults with learning disabilities. Founding Co-Chair of APNA NHS, Asma transformed leadership, supporting BAME candidates into NHS leadership roles. A mother of four, she passionately empowers working mothers, embodying the mantra “lifting as you climb.

Kumbi Kariwo

Biography

Kumbi Kariwo is a registered Learning Disability Nurse and has worked in the NHS for 22 years. She has taken up a number of roles within community settings as her passion has been to improve patient/service user experience when accessing health care through education with a focus on early prevention. In 2016, she set up the Young Peoples Sexual Health Service, which was nominated for the NHS Parliamentary Awards and commended by CQC as one of the services making a difference to address inequalities in Birmingham. In 2021, Kumbi was appointed as the first Chief of Nursing Fellow at Birmingham Community Health Care Trust where she spent 18 months developing her clinical excellence and research capacity within Digital Health and Health Inequalities. Her continued aim as an Equality and Inclusion Project Lead is to utilize her knowledge, experience, and skillset in addressing patient inequalities and access to services.

Christiana Fadipe

Biography

 No bio

Samuel Jude

Biography

Samuel Jude, a compassionate nurse from India, embarked on his NHS journey in 2016. Beginning as a registered nurse, his steadfast dedication catapulted him to the role of a dynamic ward manager within five years. A fervent advocate for equality, he champions psychological safety, the speaking-up agenda, and EDI. As the regional executive lead for the British Indian Nurses Association in the east of England, Sam provides invaluable pastoral support, coaching, and mentoring for internationally educated nurses entering the UK. His story is a testament to the transformative power of empathy, resilience, and leadership.

Cedi Frederick

Biography

A senior leader with private/public sector experience:
• Chair, NHS Kent and Medway
• Chair, the Health and Europe Centre
• Independent Chair, NHS London’s Health Equity Partnership Group
• Co-Chair, Inspire for Black Londoners
• Non-Executive Director, Sage Homes
• Core20PLUS Ambassador 2023/24
• Kent Ambassador
• Named as one of Britain’s ‘100 Most Influential Black People’

Patience Bamisaye

Biography

Patience Bamisaye is a Learning Rep for the Royal College of Nursing (RCN), Treasurer of the RCN Essex Branch, a Registered Nurse with NMC UK and Internationally educated nurse, with extensive experience in all areas of nursing care in hospitals and communities in the UK. The most recent clinical practice experience being at Mid Essex Hospital NHS Trust, in the upper and lower gastrointestinal surgery team. Patience has more than 20 years’ experience of clinical nursing as part of a multidisciplinary team focusing on assessment, planning, implementation and evaluation of patient care.

At present, Patience is a Senior Lecturer in International and Adult nursing at Anglia Ruskin University in the Faculty of Health Education, Medicine and Social Care at the Chelmsford campus. She is currently undertaking her Professional Doctorate degree at the Cambridge campus Anglia Ruskin University.

Ali Khan

Biography

Ali Khan is Chair of the BME Network at Surrey and Borders Partnership NHSFT, as well as a WRES Expert, an NED and Founder & Chair of the NHS BAME Staff Network Chairs Forum.

He is passionate about an inclusive culture that values differences and similarities at all levels, while constructively challenging and providing solutions to tackle inequalities. He was part of the HSJ Awards in the category of Health Inequalities. Ali advocates for equality, inclusivity and social justice, advising organisations on developing and refining processes, policies and programs that support an inclusive culture.

As a Senior Medical Education Manager, who has been leading in this area in L&D over 15 years and founder of the ‘Learning & Development Professionals Club’ and the ‘Global Diversity & Inclusion Club’ with over 200K+ members, he has been formally recognised by LinkedIn as a ‘Top Leadership Development Voice’.

Ali’s aim is to be instrumental in shaping and improving the standards of health and social care for everyone

Geoffrey Chikomba

Biography

ince Geoffrey qualified, he has worked in the following clinical area at the Royal Edinburgh Hospital (REH):
12.5 years in IPCU, REH
4 years with East Lothian Primary Care and
1 year in Braids, REH.
He is also one of the inspirational leaders of the Healthcare of Colour Lothian Groups. Championing for our voices to be heard and helping staff of Colour within NHS Lothian to be treated equally and fairly.
His hero is Mandela, and his favourite quotation is “it is music and dancing that makes me at peace with the world and with myself ” by his Hero. Geoffrey is an experienced RMN loved by many. There is nothing that he wouldn’t do for all staff.

Sundas Khalid

Biography

Sundas is a Midwife, advocate & change maker. She cofounded Association of South Asian Midwives and stepped into the role of CEO. ASAM supports marginalised midwives and raise awareness of health inequalities. Her work and that of ASAM has been recognised by an invite to the Kings Birthday celebrations on 14/11/23

Professor Sooriakumaran

Biography

Professor Sooriakumaran, known as Prof PS, is a multi-award winning and world-leading surgeon specialising in robotic surgery for prostate cancer. He has published widely in nerve-sparing techniques, Retzius-sparing, metastatic surgery, image-guided surgery, and other innovations to improve outcomes for men with prostate cancer, and holds professorships at Cleveland Clinic, the University of Oxford, and the All-India Institute of Medical Sciences for his practice-changing contributions. Prof PS was the youngest surgeon to be named among the top 10 urologists in Britain by the Daily Mail survey of UK urologists asked who they would most like their nearest and dearest to be treated by. He was also named as one of the most influential doctors in London by the Evening Standard in 2018 and topped the list in 2019. Prof PS remains the only urologist to win the Vice-Chancellor’s Alumni Achievement Award for his contributions to prostate cancer care.

Andrew F. Alalade

Biography

Mr Andrew F. Alalade is a Consultant Neurosurgeon based in Preston, United Kingdom (sub-specialty interests in Skull Base and Cerebrovascular Neurosurgery) & honorary senior clinical lecturer with the University of Central Lancashire.
He had his neurosurgical residency training in the North Thames rotation in London, UK. He was one of only 9 successful applicants admitted into the national neurosurgical training programme at ST3 in 2010 & was a recipient of several awards during his training – Ronald Raven Barber Award, Black British Business Award (STEM category), CODMAN Travelling Fellowship Award etc. After obtaining his certificate of completion of training (CCT) in 2016, he went for fellowships in New York, Brisbane and Liverpool.
An author of multiple book chapters and several peer-reviewed publications, his research focuses on skull base, vascular neurosurgery, minimally invasive approaches and global neurosurgery. Andrew combines his Educational Supervisor & Research Lead roles in his department with the responsibilities of being the Regional Director for the North-West England Neurosurgery Teaching Programme. He is also a member of the European Association of Neurosurgical Societies (EANS) diversity task force.
He is married to his medical doctor wife; Tolu and they have 2 children.

Mary Idowu

Biography

Worked hard with the board to not just priorities inequalities through words, but the insider aspect of healthcare, for example they now have the community and VC communities engaging with the call to action from the director of public health report. Also engaged with some of the most vulnerable communities as part of the inequalities fund, e.g. homelessness
Successfully led the inequalities fund.
Takes time for the elderly on a weekly basis.
Mentors a number of individuals, who always get promoted either inside or outside of their organisation.

Sai Pillarisetti

Biography

While studying medicine in the UK Sai recognised a gap in the representation of International Medical Students like him and founded the BIDA Student Wing – the UK’s very first organisation dedicated to representing international medical students studying in the UK with an incredibly diverse membership that represents 40+ nationalities. Since its inception in 2020, Sai has overseen the delivery of 120+ FREE educational sessions/webinars along with mental health support, career guidance and mentorship support for international students.

Sai has been an active member of the British International Doctors Association (BIDA) Executive Committee for several years, after graduating he took over as Chairman of the BIDA Junior Doctor Forum – the youngest in BIDA’s near 50 year history. He has since led on numerous initiatives to support IMGs and minority ethnic doctors working in the UK.

Sai is also passionate about promoting breast cancer awareness and he spearheaded the development of South Asia’s very first mobile app on breast health which was launched by Bollywood Superstar Mr Amitabh Bachchan in Mumbai. The app empowers women all over India with accurate information about breast health, available in English and 11 regional Indian languages

Rohit Sagoo

Biography

Rohit Sagoo is a Children’s Nurse and a PhD student at the University of Bedfordshire. He qualified as a children’s nurse in the late nineties and practiced around hospitals based in London for ten years; after that, he taught in further and higher education. In 2016, he started a grassroots community organisation – British Sikh Nurses, which addresses the health and well-being needs of the South Asian Community and supports the personal and professional development of qualified nurses. His organisation has raised awareness of organ and stem cell donation, mental health, promoting healthy lifestyle choices, and supporting the community during the Covid-19 pandemic. In 2021, Rohit won the Royal College of Nursing Leadership Award in 2021 and the London Faith and Belief Awards in 2018. He is also the 1514th Point of Light awarded by the Prime Minister in 2020. British Sikh Nurses received a highly commended award at the BBC Make A Difference Awards 2023, and are finalists at the Nursing Times Awards 2023 and Royal College of Nursing Awards 2023. Rohit was named one of the top 75 influential nurses in the UK by the Nursing Times – NHS Birthday 75, Making an Impact List. Rohit has appeared on several Asian TV Channels, BBC TV, and Asian Radio channels promoting health, well-being, and nursing. Rohit is also a director for World Seniors Snooker and the English Partnership for Snooker and Billiards, as well as a trustee for a charity called ‘Let’s Talk About Loss’.

Waheeda Abbas

Biography

I am dually qualified as a Nurse and a midwife for over 22 years.
I am a midwifery lead for genomics at North West Genomics Alliance Service at MFT and a Cultural liaison midwife at Bolton FT. I provide operational leadership to midwives across the North West in support of the development of genomics in healthcare and delivery of transformational projects within midwifery practice. In addition, I am passionate about reducing inequalities in maternal health care for diverse communities. As a midwife, my role involves improving birth outcomes for Black and minority ethnic groups who may have previously faced barriers when accessing maternity care. One of the interventions was developing multilingual maternity resources for people who may require British sign language. The multi-lingual resources cover all aspects of maternity care, from the beginning of their pregnancy to birth. Also, ensure that all maternity care provided is personalised, respectful, and sensitive to all pregnant people accessing maternity care.

Wilfredo Vitao, Jr

Biography

Wilfredo Vitao Jr., an experienced, internationally educated nurse from the Philippines, currently serves as a practice education and development facilitator at George Eliot Hospital. He has been pivotal in designing and leading the Trust’s NMC-OSCE program, contributing to a 100% pass rate. Beyond his role in preparing IENs for their competence exam, he dedicates himself relentlessly to ensuring their seamless transition into their new role and their new life in the UK.
His dedication was honoured with the 2022 NHS Professionals’ Going the Extra Mile Award at George Eliot Hospital. Additionally, he received national acclaim as a highly commended finalist in the BAME Nurse of the Year category at the 2023 National BAME Health and Care Awards. Additionally, he was a finalist for the Overseas Nurse of the Year at the 2023 Nursing Times Workforce Summit and Awards, recognising his exceptional leadership and commitment to colleagues’ development.

Dr Julie Hammond

Biography

Dr Hammond is a GP in Kent and London and a passionate advocate for health equity. She is the CEO of Dr Hammond Aesthetics, Events Director of Black Female Doctors UK, Mentor, BMA EDI Advisory Group Member, London Inspire Programme Steering group member, UN Women UK delegate, and Trustee for the Sarah Agnes Foundation and West Kent Mind.

Dr Hammond is currently leading the planning committee for the inaugural London Black Health Summit. The summit aims to raise awareness of health conditions that disproportionately affect the Afro-Caribbean population. The goal is to create dynamic hub for information sharing and uniting professionals and organisations across London that are passionate about addressing health inequalities. She is also the event director on the planning committee for the Cura Awards, which celebrate the accomplishments of future female healthcare leaders in the UK.

Shohail Shaikh

Biography

Shohail Shaikh is a true exemplar in constructively challenging inequities within our community, embodying the core principles of the NHS People Promise, particularly the pillar of ‘We are compassionate and inclusive’. His remarkable journey is marked by numerous accolades, including the creation of an award-winning Support Package that has transformed countless lives. Shohail’s dedication and commitment have earned him the prestigious title of being among the Top 50 Influential Muslims in Europe. Moreover, his tireless efforts have been recognized with multiple awards, acknowledging his outstanding contributions as an impactful champion for equality, diversity, and inclusion (EDI).

Preeti Rajan Modi

Biography

Ms. Preeti Rajan Modi, a seasoned and highly skilled registered nurse with a wealth of experience, has emerged as a dedicated healthcare professional and a beacon of excellence in the field.

In her recent role as EPR Change Lead, Electronic Patient Record, Preeti has bridged clinical, operational, and technical domains, driving positive change to enhance EPR usage and efficiency. Earlier, As an improvement lead within the corporate nursing team, she championed the use of quality improvement methodologies, becoming a role model for embedding QI into divisional and site operations.

Her leadership, commitment to patient care, and dedication to staff development were evident throughout her diverse experiences in critical care, medical-surgical units, and various leadership positions.

Andrew Chang

Biography

Andrew has a senior level experience in governance, risk and internal audit, and has undertaken a range of non-executive appointments across both the public and private sectors. He is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants.
• He is a Non-Executive Director and Chair of the Audit & Risk Committee at both the National Metrology Institute (NPL) and Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust. He is a governor at both York St John University and the Luminate Education Group as well as a Trustee of the Wilf Ward Family Trust.
• His previous posts include Non-Executive Director and Audit Committee Chair at Bradford District Care NHS Foundation Trust; Trustee and Honorary Treasurer of the Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management; Non-Executive Director and Chairman of the Audit Committee at Bradford College; Chairman of Training for Bradford Ltd; Trustee of Bradford Grammar School; Governor and Acting Chairman of Leeds City College; Treasurer for Yorkshire WaterAid; and Chief Internal Auditor at Yorkshire Water.

 

JENNY CHONG

Biography

Jenny is a Non-Executive Director with Medway NHS Foundation Trust. She sits on
boards and committees for The Design Museum, Imperial College London’s Venture
Mentoring Service, the Egypt Exploration Society; Orthopaedic Research UK; NIHR i4i
and The Shuri Network. She is deputy director and mentor on Imperial College’s
Venture Mentoring Scheme and their Engineering Faculty’s Imperial Technology
Experts Service; and an advisor to various start-ups in the FinTech, MedTech and
social impact space.

Originally from Singapore, after graduating from the London School of Economics,
Jenny embarked on a 20-year career in Investment Banking. Starting in Equities, she
has worked across hardware infrastructure, software engineering, program
management, big data and AI. Her most recent role was as Credit Suisse’s Global
Head of Electronic Communications Surveillance, building a global regulatory
compliance platform that detects potential malicious behaviour; leveraging natural
language processing and deep learning to cognitively learn human context; identify
patterns to create behavioural models; and detect anomalous signals.
Jenny actively promotes education in STEM, gender equality, diversity and inclusion.
She is also a recipient of the Tech Star award at the “Women in Banking and
Finance Annual Awards for Achievement”.

KAREN DABER

Biography

Karen was born in Cambridge and, with her family, has spent the majority of her life
in the county. She had a successful and rewarding policing career, and during that
time was selected by the College of Policing to lead the development of the Code
of Ethics for Policing, which was published in 2014. She has worked with UK police
forces, the Lebanese police, Hyderabad Police in India, and Barnardo’s Charity
amongst others. Karen also led the national BME Progress 2018 programme to
improve the representation in the service of underrepresented groups.
Karen retired from the police in 2014 as a chief officer after 30 years’ service in the
county of Cambridgeshire. She holds the police long service and good conduct
medal.
Currently Karen is a school governor and a non-executive member of the
Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust. She was a member of the
Cambridgeshire and Essex Magistrates Advisory Committee and a member of the
South-East Region Magistrates Conduct Advisory Committee. Karen is a company
director involved in coaching, mentoring and leadership development. She has a
particular interest in ethics and providing diversity and inclusion leadership
programmes for both public and private sector companies and individuals. Karen is
a qualified executive coach and qualified trainer.
Karen was appointed a Deputy Lieutenant of Cambridgeshire in 2021.

PAV AKHTAR

Biography

Pav is an equality and employment law specialist whose professional career has
spanned the public, private and voluntary sectors. He is currently head of equality at
Lancashire and South Cumbria NHS Trust and a public governor at Lancashire
Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust.
He joined the NHS after working as a political advisor to a shadow minister in the
Home Affairs team in Parliament.
Prior to this, Pav spent a decade overseas. As a director of UNI Global Union in
Switzerland, Pav negotiated global agreements with private sector multinational
companies; helped negotiate a UN convention to prevent violence against women
and men at work and helped draft a UN global compact on safe and
orderly migration.
A central tenet of Pav’s career has been the defence of human rights and workers’
rights.
Pav was head of equality in the UK’s Department of Education; public appointments
ambassador in the Government Equalities Office; and an employment tribunals’
member in the Ministry of Justice.
Pav is a long serving Director of UK Black Pride which tackles intersections of race,
faith, and sexual orientation, and is a campaigner for disability rights.
Pav continues to serve his community as a Preston City Councillor. He holds a BA
(Hons) and MA from the University of Cambridge, and an MA in labour economics
from L’Università Degli Studi di Torino in Italy.

MEENA ANAND

Biography

Meena is an experienced Human Resources professional. Most recently she was the
Managing Director and Chief HR Officer for a 30,000 strong financial services
organisation based out of Malaysia.
Returning home in June 2020, Meena now enjoys a portfolio career which includes
being a Trustee of a multi academy trust, the Non-Executive Director of a housing
association and the Board Advisor for an HR publication based in Asia.
In addition to her Board work, Meena is an active Career Coach with a particular
interest in working with neurodiverse people and those early on in their careers.
Meena said: “As a Non Executive Director of CNWL I hope to reconnect with the
different communities in London, support the changes the Trust needs to adopt and
learn more about how best to support the varied needs of our communities.”
Meena lives in London with her husband and loves to hike: “Epping Forest may not
be the jungles of Malaysia but it certainly has its own charm!”

MARK DIAS

Biography

Mark is a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) and
an experienced human resource professional having worked at a senior level in a
number of multi-national organisations. Mark’s previous roles included EMEA
employee relations director for Cummins, HR director for DS Smith and HR business
partner at Nuffield Hospitals. A former serving police officer at Cleveland Police and
commended for standing up for equality and integrity in policing. He is a self
employed consultant providing HR consultancy and mediation services to a range
of clients

LENA SAMUELS

Biography

Lena is Chair of South Central Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust where she is
also the well-being guardian, Chair of Hampshire and the IOW ICS, the South East
Regional People Board, and the Council of the Association of Ambulance Chief
Executives.
Born and educated in London, Lena was previously a non-executive director with
University Hospital Southampton and an associate non-executive director with IOW
NHS Trust. She was a Lay Advisor with Wessex Deanery undertaking GP recruitment
and the assessment of post-graduate doctors in rotation, as well as being a member
of the school boards of surgery and emergency medicine.
Lena started her career as a lecturer in further and higher education and managed
a training centre in London for young people at risk of exclusion.
She currently runs a company which has provided communications and training in
leadership and human rights on behalf of organisations such as the British High
Commission, the National Crime Agency, CORAM, Bramshill Policing Advisers,
UNICEF and UN Women.

SIM SCAVAZZA

Biography

Sim is the Acting Chair of the Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and Berkshire West (BOB)
Integrated Care Board (ICB) having stepped up from Deputy Chair in April 2023.
She is also a NED at Imperial College Healthcare Trust and London North West
Hospital Trust which form part of the North West London Acute Provider
Collaborative, where she Chairs the Imperial People Committee and the NWL
Collaborative EDI steering group.
Sim is a London WRES expert and an advisor on Race to NHS Providers.
Sim recently stepped down from the Court of Governors at the University of the Arts
London where she was Vice Chair, also chairing the People and Remuneration
Committees. She was the lead Governor for EDI. Maintaining the connection to HE,
Sim is now Chair of the Ombuds, The Office of the Independent Adjudicator for
Higher Education in England and Wales.
A strong supporter of the Arts, design and fashion, Sim is a Trustee for two UK
registered charities: the National Saturday Club and Smartworks where she is the
Board lead for EDI. She also advises the London College of Fashion Business School.
Sim’s commercial background is in Fashion Clothing Retail, where she spent 30 years
working for some go the Uk’s best loved High Street brands including as Brand
Director for the young fashion chain Miss Selfridge.
Sim is a Fellow of the RSA, a registered Mental Health First Aider and a member of
the steering committee of the Seacole Group.

ABI OLAPADE

Biography

Abi Olapade is a wife, a mother and a Portfolio Non-Executive Director.
Her Portfolio consists of a NED role with Homerton Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust
(appointed in Sep 2022) where she sits on the Board’s Finance, Investment and
Performance Committee and its Quality Committee. She is also the Board’s lead for
Innovation; Continuous Improvement; Digital Transformation; and the Trust’s Net Zero
strategy.
Abi is an active member of the Seacole Group and co-chairs its Digital and Data
Working Group.
Outside of the Healthcare sector, Abi was appointed Chair of the Board of Trustees at
Citizens Advice Redbridge in Feb 2023, having served as a Trustee on the Board since
Nov 2021. She is also a Trustee on the Board of Aldridge Education Multi-Academy
Trust (appointed in Oct 2021) and sits on its People Committee (which she was
instrumental in forming).
Her Independent Business Consulting firm: AG-iATM Consulting Services Limited
provides strategic business and IT consulting services to top tier institutions in the
Capital Markets sector (with past clients including Barclays Bank, HSBC, Deutsche
Bank and the Tokyo Financial Exchange).
Abi is a Public Speaker – covering a wide range of topics including Corporate
Governance and Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) with previous engagements with
the BBC. She is also an Independent Panel Member (IPM) for Senior Public
Appointment recruitment campaigns which recently included the Prime Minister’s
Advisory Committee (PMAC) for the King’s Awards for Enterprise.
In her spare time, Abi loves travel, Zumba and career mentoring.

VIJAY SHARMA

Biography

The former Head of the BBC Asian Network has been appointed Pro-Chancellor for
Community Engagement at the University of Leicester.
Dr Vijay Sharma will work to foster greater interconnections between the University,
the City of Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland.
Dr Sharma has been a long-established member of the University of Leicester
community for over 10 years and has had voluntary roles on Philanthropy Board,
Audit Committee, as a lay member and Vice-Chair of the University Council. She
was also the inaugural Chair of the Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Board and has
helped support numerous University fundraising efforts, particularly in the area of
health. She was given an honorary degree for her contribution and service in 2014.
Dr Sharma pioneered the concept of a national public service radio station
targeting the Asian diaspora living in Britain within the BBC. She transformed six hours
a day radio programming on the local BBC Radio Leicester into an award-winning
national digital radio service. The Asian Network is today transmitted around the
world and has been instrumental in launching the careers of a number of today’s
well-known radio and television journalists and personalities.
Dr Sharma is a trained social worker completing her masters in social work from
University of Warwick, practicing as a social worker in Nottinghamshire, after
undertaking community work at the Foleshill Community Centre, in Coventry.
She was appointed as the first race relations advisor to the chief executive of
Leicestershire County Council before joining the BBC Radio Leicester as an
education producer. Her brief was to oversee the development of the Asian,
African, Caribbean and youth programmes, before being promoted to take charge
of developing and extending the Asian programme strand.
During her career, she has undertaken many non-executive director and trustee
roles in health, higher education, regional government, probation, the performing
arts and charities, for example, Gingerbread, advocating rights of single parents and
the Leicester Theatre Trust – Curve.

Dr Sharma served as non-executive director and as vice chair on East Midlands
Ambulance NHS Trust for nine years, her term ending in September 2023 (where she
chaired the both the workforce committee and the audit committee, was the trust
board champion for freedom to speak up and board lead for equality, diversity and
inclusion).
She has also been awarded an honorary doctorate degree by De Montfort
University and the fellowship of the Radio Academy for her services to broadcasting.

Sultan Taylor

Biography

Sultan joined the trust as a NED in April 2017. He worked for the Metropolitan Police
for 33 years; his latest role was the Borough Commander of Barking and Dagenham.
He was the Operational Commander of the Safer Transport Command and was
responsible for the safe transport of the public, athletes and dignitaries during the
Olympics. Sultan has a track record of delivering improved performance through
partnerships and community engagement while increasing public confidence.
He has a number of years of experience as a board member at several strategic
partnership boards such as the Health and Wellbeing, Community Safety, and Local
Strategic Partnership. Away from NELFT, Sultan is an active tennis coach and has an
MBA and BSC (Hons).

Sola Afuape

Biography

Sola brings 20 years Board leadership experience from a number of NED, lay advisory
and Trustee roles in health and social care and across the wider public sector. She is
currently Vice Chair at both SWL & St George’s Mental Health Trust and Croydon
University Hospitals where she also chairs their People Committees. She is the
Independent Chair for the Newham Safeguarding Adults Board, Co-Chair for
Birmingham Council’s BLACHIR Board (community and systems approach to
addressing health inequalities) and a National Professional Advisor for the Care
Quality Commission with a remit for Workforce Equality.
Sola has significant operational and management consultancy experience across
national and local government alongside advisory work with organisational teams
on systems working, workforce and OD, EDI, transformation and culture, leadership
development and stakeholder engagement. She was the London regional service
improvement lead and national EDI advisor to the NHS for the Department of Health.
She also served as a member of the Lord Chancellor’s Main Advisory sub-committee
for London West.
She was awarded an MBE in 2013 as chair of a National charity, The Afiya Trust, for
tackling inequalities for marginalised and racialised communities working in
partnership with grassroots organisations.

Dr Dami Adedayo

Biography

Dami is a GP and Associate Medical Director for adult services in Hertfordshire
Community Trust. She is also a Non-Executive Director at Ashford and St Peters
Foundation Trust and a Trustee of the Claire Wand Fund.
She was previously an LMC chair, Board Member and Treasurer at Londonwide LMC
leading in primary care from 2015 – 2020. She was one of the foundation members of
the NCL ICS People Board until 2022.
She is passionate about developing more seamless integrated care pathways that
meet the health and care needs of our patients. She is also passionate about
mentoring and enabling clinical staff and teams thrive and develop within an inclusive
and diverse NHS organisations.
She is a mother of 2 boys who keep her very busy and active in her spare time. She
enjoys long walks, listening to audio books and travelling.

Halima Dagla

Biography

Halima Dagla stands as a beacon of inspiration in the ongoing battle against inequities, firmly rooted in the values of the NHS People Promise, notably the principle of ‘We are compassionate and inclusive’. Her exceptional achievements encompass a diverse array of accomplishments, most notably her pivotal role in the development of a highly acclaimed Support Package. Halima’s influence extends far and wide, as evidenced by her inclusion among the Top 50 Influential Muslims in Europe. Her unwavering dedication to fostering a more equitable society has garnered widespread acclaim, with numerous awards celebrating her as an exemplary EDI champion.

Riyaz Patel

Biography

Riyaz Patel embodies the essence of proactive engagement in addressing inequities, championing the values enshrined in the NHS People Promise, particularly the tenet of ‘We are compassionate and inclusive’. His notable successes include the conception and implementation of an award-winning Support Package, making a tangible difference in the lives of many. Riyaz’s impact reverberates throughout the community, as reflected in his recognition as one of the Top 50 Influential Muslims in Europe. His outstanding contributions as an advocate for equality, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) have earned him numerous accolades, solidifying his status as a formidable force for positive change.

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Good Governance Institute